May 11, 2011

The Book With the Draggin' Plot



So, this book is the first in a trilogy that was published posthumously and became a huge international sensation. I've finally gotten around to reading it, and, well, Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

It's not that it's written poorly -- in fact, the central mystery at the heart of the book is quite well-crafted. It's just that it takes so long to get into the investigation that by the time you do, you've almost forgotten why you were reading in the first place.

On top of that, the translation from Swedish into English is clunky at times, and anything which slows the pace at which you can turn the pages in a page-turner is a detriment to enjoyment. Moreover, although I have some Swedish ancestry, the culture depicted in this book is so alien that it's hard to fully immerse oneself into it. 

I've never read so many descriptions of coffee being brewed, poured and shared in my life. And I get it... it's cold. But do I need page upon page of text telling me how cold it is? It's like Anne Rice and her infatuation with pointing out each and every magnolia tree in Louisiana before finally getting around to introducing the witches. I get it... now can something happen?

Really, this book was really three compeltely different stories mashed up into one - the first was about the titular girl, which was essentially a version of La Femme Nikita. The second was a snooze-fest about financial espionage that smacked on John Grisham platitudes. The third was a noir-esque "cold case" that actually had some meat to it, save for the fact that for about 100-150 pages, the main character sat around debating whether or not to participate in trying to solve it. 

It's decent, but not the be-all end-all that it was purported to be. Personally, I waited several years before deciding to read the book, and now that I have... I wish I'd waited for David Fincher's movie. 


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